An author was being interviewed on a radio talk show the other day. For a brief segment, she was talking about how she works from home part time while her husband works as a doctor. She expressed how this arrangement has been beneficial to keeping her home and family running smoothly. Here is the quote from my memory:
"Everyone needs a wife. I mean that 1950s kind of wife that bakes and cleans and takes care of all of that stuff."
Before I get to my point, the context was clear that she was not making a sexist comment (especially since she is a woman). She was using the term "wife" as a euphemism for "person who keeps your life running", and she was including women in "everyone".
Lately I've been thinking about how true that is in my life. My wife stays home with the kids while I work. This works for us and honestly, I have a hard time understanding how couples make it work otherwise. There are so many responsibilities that families have outside of work. How do dual-income families find time for these things? I'm talking about home maintenance, financial planning, shopping, taking care of kids (of course very important), doing research on decisions that need to be made, and a million other important things I can't possibly list. I realize that some of these things you can hire people to do for you, but there are plenty that you cannot, such as caring for a sick child. Our son has medical issues that have caused what seems like daily doctor's appointments. I think if we both worked, one of us would have had to have quit by now. But even without medical issues, it's hard for me to imagine that it could work.
So, for those of you who are in dual-income families, I ask you: How do you do it? How do you keep your life running? For those of you in single-income families but who are married, I ask: Can you imagine your family running otherwise? For those of you who are single parents, I can only imagine how hard your struggle is, as you have the worst of both worlds: a single income and no one to share the burden. My heart goes out to you.